Sanjay and Akhilesh have been riding double seat on a bicycle from Bengaluru towards their home near Chandouli district of Uttar Pradesh (UP), bordering Bihar.
With no other means available during the lockdown, many migrant workers are using bicycles to travel long distances home. Part of a group of 6 to 8 workers, the duo had to manage with a single cycle. The source from whom they were buying the bikes had no more left, they said.
“There were no more bicycles with the man so we had to adjust on one,” said Sanjay. It took six days for them to reach Nagpur, said Akhilesh as they could not get any lift on the way.
“We take turns to ride,” said one of them, a blanket made up for the cushion on the carrier. The rest of the group was spotted over two km away as the two could not keep pace. TOI found them a little before Nagpur airport.
Migrant workers cycling their way to home has been a common sight on highways these days. Many even purchased bicycles just for the journey.
Prior to them, TOI had come across another group coming from Nashik on their way to Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh.
They were lucky to get dropped by a truck till Nagpur. They were working on the Samruddhi Mahamarg Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway project but left as the contractor had stopped paying wages, they said.
“We were working for Dilip Buildcon, a contractor for Nagpur-Mumbai expressway. The road construction has stopped for two months and there were no wages, so we left after waiting all these days,” said Rajpal, a worker. “Even if he paid small amounts, it was to be adjusted against future wages,” added Rohit Kumar, another one part of the group.
“To make things worse, our ATM card was blocked so we could not get access to the funds transferred to our accounts from home,” added Rajpal.
In their 20s, the workers said they don’t have any plans to return until things are completely normal. Even after that, they would prefer getting jobs in their home state. An older Brujesh Kumar who was cycling towards Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh alone also joined them. “Even I don’t plan to return,” he said.
(With inputs from timesofindia)